Top 10 Whey Protein Powders for 2021 – Buying Guide
When it comes to boosting workout performance and building an overall muscular body, increasing protein consumption is usually needed. And right now, when it comes to the various types of protein powders on the market, whey protein is leading the pack.
Whey protein powders are made from skimmed milk and are easily mass-produced (a byproduct of cheese production), which explains their abundance and dominance in the protein ingredient market. As beneficial as it is, one disadvantage of whey protein is that some people are lactose intolerant and cannot consume dairy, and others choose not to consume dairy or animal products.
Fortunately, premium vegan protein powders are an excellent substitute for whey protein powders. We researched and compared the best whey protein supplements on the market right now to help you find a good product.
10 Best Whey Protein Brands Compared
These are the 10 best protein powders for muscle gain as picked by our team! The following list will help you choose the right one.
Gold Standard 100% Whey
Whey Gold Standard 100 percent Whey is a simple yet highly effective protein powder. This product is the unquestionable Gold Standard of the fitness supplement industry, having won a slew of prestigious awards over the years.
According to user reviews, it is highly effective and one of the best tasting whey protein powders available. To achieve optimal results and performance, this product employs high-quality ingredients in clinically proven amounts.
- Award-winning – For the past ten years, Gold Standard has been named the Best Protein Powder of the Year and the Best Supplement of the Year!
- Makes use of a combination of three powerful whey proteins.
- Each serving contains 24g of protein, 3g of carbohydrates, and 110 calories.
- Each serving contains 4g of glutamine and glutamic acid and more than 5g of naturally occurring BCAAs.
- Available in a variety of wonderful tastes.
- Easy to mix with no clumping.
- Excellent value.
- Unquestionably the Gold Standard comes in high protein quality.
- Contains a little too much sodium
What’s in it: One serving contains 24g of protein, which is made up of the following ingredients:
- Whey protein isolates – the pure form of whey protein.
- Whey protein concentrate (premium, ultra-filtered) – a high-quality, well-balanced, and quickly absorbed form of whey protein.
- Whey peptides – the most rapidly digestible form of whey available.
Combinations: An Old-fashioned combination with a BCAA twist. We like how they stayed true to being a standalone whey protein formula while also innovating by including whey peptides as a separate ingredient. They also include glutamine, which can usually be purchased separately in the form of a premium glutamine supplement.
Quality: It does not have the most protein per serving, but the combination of whey proteins helps accelerate muscle growth.
Transparent Labs Protein Series 100% Grass-Fed Protein Isolate
Transparent Labs uses 100 percent pure whey protein isolate from grass-fed cows in New Zealand, which is sourced responsibly. It's one of the most environmentally friendly products on the market, as well as the best whey protein isolate available.
It's one of the healthiest protein powders on the market, providing all the protein your body requires to perform and recover efficiently, with none of the unnecessary junk found in many supplements.
The price of this product is slightly higher than average, but it is well worth it due to the high-quality, clean, and pure ingredients.
- Contains 100 percent pure whey protein isolate from grass-fed cows
- Grass-fed means that this protein was derived from cows that were only fed grass – the way it should be!
- There are no hormones, steroids, or artificial ingredients in this product.
- Each serving contains 28g of protein, 0g of carbohydrates, and 112 calories.
- 88 percent protein by weight ratio (28g protein in each 32g scoop)
- No artificial sweeteners, food colors, preservatives, or gluten
- One of the healthiest protein supplements available
- Provides the protein your muscles require to recover – without the unnecessary fillers or artificial sweeteners found in other proteins.
- Stevia is used to sweeten it naturally.
- High sodium content
- Contains stevia, which some users may find objectionable.
Combinations: They only used whey protein isolate, indicating potency and a premium feel.
Quality: We like the formula's design, which limits itself to just one major key ingredient.
What’s in it: One serving contains
- 28g 100 percent whey protein isolate – sourced from grass-fed cows in New Zealand. The purest type of whey protein is whey protein isolate.
MuscleTech Nitrotech, which claims to be the most powerful protein formula ever, isn't afraid to let people know they mean business, and based on what we've seen, they might be on to something.
They claim 30 grams of protein per 46-gram serving and have added some other pro-muscle ingredients for good measure. They also come in a variety of sizes, making them ideal for bulk purchases.
- 30 grams of protein per serving, making it one of the highest in the industry
- It includes 6.8 grams of BCAAs
- Contains 3 grams of creatine monohydrate
- Maximum muscle recovery and growth
- Available in 15 different flavors
- Big savings when you purchase in bigger tubs
- Reputable company with a long history in the industry (they also make an excellent test booster)
- High cholesterol content
- Excessive use of other ingredients
- Contains carrageenan, which has been linked to inflammation and other potential health issues.
What’s in it: One serving contains 30 grams of protein, which is made up of a combination of:
- Whey peptides: The fastest digesting form of whey available
- Whey isolates: The pure form of whey protein.
- Whey concentrates: The raw form of whey protein.
Combinations: There is a lot of synergy between the muscle-building ingredients.
Quality: High dosages and ingredient forms that have been clinically validated are examples of quality.
Legion Athletics has always had a good reputation for supplements, and their Legion Whey+ is no exception. They not only claim to have 100% natural whey isolate protein powder, but they also proudly source it from Ireland.
While they have ten different flavors to choose from, if you don't like the idea of ingesting flavorings and colorants, you can opt for the basic, unflavored variety.
- Very high in calcium
- Non-GMO whey protein isolate sources
- The unflavored option is pretty unique in the industry
- Contains 22 grams protein per 26.4 grams serving
- Relatively clean from fillers
- Lactose-free and Gluten-free
- Not the best overall protein content
- A little pricey in comparison to other supplements on the list
What’s in it: One serving has 22 grams of protein and is made with:
- Whey protein isolate: The highest quality whey protein, containing 90% protein by weight.
Combinations: There is a lot of synergy between the muscle-building ingredients.
Quality: High dosages and clinically tested forms of ingredients.
BSN Syntha 6
BSN Syntha 6 is a protein powder that provides sustained protein release over several hours. Syntha 6 delivers a steady stream of amino acids to your muscles by utilizing an innovative blend of 6 different protein sources.
It is not the cheapest protein powder in terms of overall protein content, but given the wide variety of high-quality protein sources it uses, it is priced very reasonably and offers excellent value.
- Contains a blend of 6 different high-quality protein sources
- Contains 22g protein, 15g carbs and 200 calories per serving
- Contains 10g essential amino acids per serving
- Provides a steady stream of protein to your muscles
- Excellent source of fiber
- It may be too complex and complicated.
- It contains 2 grams of added sugar
- It contains too many fillers and non-essential ingredients
- High sodium and cholesterol levels
- Not suitable for all users due to the slow digestible protein strategy
What’s in it: One serving contains:
- 22g protein blend (whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, calcium caseinate, milk protein isolate, egg albumen, and glutamine peptides)
Combination: This is a good combination, but it may be a little complicated for the purpose.
Quality: High-quality ingredients, particularly slow-digesting proteins.
Dymatize Iso-100 is a premium hydrolyzed whey protein powder that promotes muscle growth and recovery. It delivers a fast-absorbing stream of amino acids to fuel your muscles and optimize results by using 100% hydrolyzed whey protein isolate.
- Contains 25g of protein, 0g carbs and 106 calories per serving
- Contains 5.5g of BCAAs per serving
- Gluten-free and lactose-free
- Made with hydrolyzed 100 percent whey protein isolate – the purest form of whey protein
- The Award of Excellence, as well as other prestigious awards
- Digests quickly
- Delectable vanilla flavor
- Each serving contains only one carbohydrate.
- Some fillers are included
- Extremely expensive
What’s in it: One serving contains:
- 25g hydrolyzed whey protein isolate – the purest form of whey protein available.
- Provides your body with the amino acids and nutrients it requires quickly and without fillers or "fluff."
Combinations: They focused on speed, so they only included hydrolyzed whey and whey isolate, which is more than enough.
Quality: High-quality ingredients designed for rapid absorption.
Muscle Feast Grass Fed Whey Isolate
One issue that many protein users face is running out of powder when they really need it. Muscle Feast addressed this by providing a high-quality grass-fed whey protein isolate with one of the most servings per bottle.
One bottle of Muscle Feast Grass Fed Whey Isolate contains 37 servings. We rate it as the best value protein powder because of its concentrated formula and high number of servings per bottle.
- Single-ingredient and concentrated
- No cholesterol or carbs
- Low sodium and sugar content
- Minimal ingredient list
- 7 servings per 2 pound bottle; 94 servings per 5 pound bottle
- 8 g BCAAs per serving declared
- No soy, gluten, additives, colorants, or unnecessary fillers
- LabDoor has been tested for use in sports.
- Only three flavors are available
- 5 grams of protein per serving
What’s in it: One serving contains 20.5 grams of protein, made with:
- Whey protein isolate (100%): a high-purity protein source that absorbs quickly.
Combinations: There are no combinations; everything is single-sourced.
Quality: High-quality whey protein that has been tested for sports use. However, the dosage requires some assistance.
MusclePharm Combat Powder
MusclePharm Combat Powder contains a powerful protein blend that delivers fast, medium, and slow-release protein for up to 8 hours. It is intended to be an all-in-one product that eliminates the need for multiple protein supplements.
- Each serving contains 25g of protein, 8g of carbohydrates, and 140 calories.
- Contains a protein blend of five different proteins
- Designed to provide fast-digesting, medium-digesting, and slow-digesting protein
- Can be taken at any time – morning, pre/post-workout, or before bed
- A lot of fillers
- The slow digesting strategy isn't for everyone
- The protein complex may turn some people off
What’s in it: One serving contains: 25g of a proprietary blend that includes whey protein concentrate, isolate, hydrolyzed whey protein, micellar casein, and egg albumin.
Combinations: Slow digesting protein powders are difficult to perfect, so kudos for utilizing five sources of protein to achieve perfection.
Quality: Microfiltered proteins are easier to digest, which reduces the risk of bloating.
Nature’s Best Zero Carb Isopure
Nature's Best Zero Carb Isopure is a high-quality protein powder made entirely of whey protein isolate. This product is the best lean protein powder available, with a whopping 50 grams of protein per serving and ZERO carbs.
- Each serving contains 50 grams of pure whey protein isolates.
- 0g carbs and 220 calories per serving
- High-quality protein
- Low-calorie protein powder with only 210 calories per serving
- No 2 pound bottle
- High sodium content
What’s in it: One serving contains:
- 50g of 100 percent pure whey protein isolate – the purest form of whey protein available.
Combinations: Whey protein combined with a vitamin and mineral blend. In an industry dominated by “protein-only” formulas, this is quite a novel approach.
Quality: Whey protein isolate is an excellent ingredient, but the vitamin forms could have been much better – they used cheap, generic ones.
Cellucor COR-Performance Whey
Cellucor COR-Performance Whey is the last but not least. The addition of enzymes that aid in digestion and absorption, rather than their protein mix (which is standard), is what propelled them to the top of this list. It's low calorie, low fat, and comes at an unbeatable price.
One of the reasons they only made the top ten is that their bottle selection is limited to either 28 or 70 servings, forcing you to subscribe to get a better deal if you don't plan on using it for a long time. Purchasing a large tub may also result in clumping over time.
- 24 grams per 33 gram serving
- 3 grams of carbs for instant muscle fuel
- Made with a combination of whey concentrate and isolate
- Low cholesterol
- Protease and lactase to aid digestion and absorption
- Reasonably priced
- 7 flavors
- Significant amount of sodium content
- Only available in two sizes: 28 or 70 servings
- Minimal flavor and mixing fillers
What’s in it: One serving contains 24 grams of protein and is made with:
- Whey protein isolate: a high-purity protein source that absorbs quickly.
- Whey protein concentrate: a raw form of whey protein that digests slowly, making it ideal for an added appetite suppressant effect.
Combinations: The whey protein combination they used isn't novel, but it has been proven to work.
Quality: The addition of enzymes is a thoughtful and unusual addition.
How Do We Select the Best Protein Powders – Criteria
Our team of fitness editors, athletes, and nutrition advisors helped the candidates select for the best protein powders for every goal based on nutritional quality, taste, value, and customer feedback.
We went a step further and used the following criteria to select our top picks:
- Customer Reviews and Ratings: Our customers take protein very seriously, as evidenced by their purchases, ratings, and feedback. Every protein on this list has thousands of positive reviews and high ratings.
- Formula: Yes, the amount of protein in a serving of powder is important. What's more important is how it's made, the macronutrient profile, and the manufacturer's track record. It's critical to have faith in your protein!
- Flavor: If a protein doesn't taste good, you're unlikely to stick with it, no matter how "good for you" it is. Life is too short to drink protein that tastes bad or is chalky.
- Price: The cheapest protein isn't always the best deal! The price per serving is factored into all of our best proteins.
The Bottom Line
There are numerous whey protein powder products on the market, making it difficult to select the best one.
Choosing a best whey protein powder from this list can help you ensure that you're purchasing a high-quality, safe product that will help you meet your protein needs and health goals.
- What Exactly Is Whey Protein?
- Whey protein is a protein that is derived from whey. Whey is a natural byproduct of the cheese-making process that is found in milk. If you've ever opened a container of yogurt and noticed a layer of liquid on top, that's whey!
Liquid whey protein is separated from the other components of milk during the cheese making process. The whey is then processed and dried into a powder by the manufacturers. Whey protein is then sold as a supplement or added to a variety of foods and convenient protein bars to increase protein content.
Whey protein digests quickly, making it an ideal protein supplement for athletes who need a quick protein boost post-workout. Whey also has a high amino acid content, which is beneficial for a variety of health reasons.
- What Exactly Are Whey Protein Powders?
- Whey protein supplements are nothing more than powdered whey protein. To provide a well-balanced mix of nutrients, they frequently include flavoring and/or other types of protein. Athletes, weightlifters, and people on low-protein diets frequently use them.
Athletes will reap the most benefits from whey protein, but these products can benefit a wide range of people. Whey protein has far more health benefits than you might think, with numerous significant proven positive health effects.
- What Are the Benefits of Whey Protein Powders?
- Whey protein is used by a diverse group of people for a diverse set of reasons. While you may immediately think of it as a useful bodybuilding supplement when you think protein, there are many other whey protein benefits to consider, including:
- Excellent source of high-quality whey protein
- Packed with key amino acids
- A high concentration of branched-chain amino acids
They are also typically high in antioxidants and BCAAs. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) in particular have numerous advantages, and whey is an excellent source of these amino acids. Some whey protein powders contain the same amount of BCAAs as many of the best BCAA supplements available.
- How Can Whey Protein Powder Help Me?
- Muscle Mass: Muscle mass is the amount of muscle mass that a person If it does not promise muscle gains, it is not a whey protein supplement. After all, protein is the most important macronutrient for gaining lean mass. The studies on combining whey protein supplementation with regular resistance exercise (as well as aerobic exercise) are solid and, at this point, irrefutable.
Recovery: The first step in getting big muscles is to “heal” damaged muscle tissue, and the faster your body heals, the sooner it can move on to the “building muscle to prevent this type of muscle damage” part. Whey protein can essentially accelerate the process.
Long-term health: Protein supplementation, regardless of the source, is more than just filling macros. Protein supplements have been shown to boost antioxidant levels, boost the immune system, reduce hunger, and help regulate blood pressure.
Weight Loss: While protein powders do not directly affect weight loss in the same way that some high-quality fat burners do, eating more protein can help you exercise harder, recover faster, and build more muscle, all of which can help you lose weight.
- How Do I Take Whey Protein Powder?
- These products are typically powdered. They are usually flavored, but some are unflavored. To take a whey protein supplement, simply mix it with water, milk, or juice, or combine it with your favorite shake.
Many people like to make delicious protein shakes at home by combining a whey protein supplement with fruit, vegetables, ice, milk, or whatever other ingredients they have on hand. Others who require more calories and protein make their own homemade weight gainer shakes.
If you like variety, go for a simple whey protein flavor like vanilla or chocolate that can be mixed with a variety of other ingredients. You might want to consider getting a Blender Bottle for on-the-go use. While on the go, these handy little devices make mixing whey protein into shakes a breeze.
Blender bottles contain a small metal ball whisk that aids in the mixing of powdered supplements into water or milk with a simple shake. These convenient protein shaker bottles can be used for any type of powdered supplement, such as a good micronized creatine supplement, but they are especially useful for post-workout protein shakes.